– Est. 1981

Asthma! Do you really understand?

I've been thinking about this post for a while and the truth of it is I'm not sure where to start or even what to say without sounding like I have animosity toward people who have kids without asthma. I don't, but it's obvious that asthma is a foreign concept to people unless they are directly affected by it.

My wife and daughter have asthma, it's a constant struggle in my house even though my wife is good at managing it and making everything seem as normal as possible. The fact is it alters what we do and how we think on a daily basis.

My daughter has had pneumonia 4 or 5 times in her short 3 and a half-year life. Pneumonia takes a very long time to recover from, any additional sickness like the common cold can inflame the scar tissue again and cause a reoccurrence. A single diagnoses of pneumonia means we're doing albuterol breathing treatments every 4 hours of every single day for at least 2 to 3 months. (You think diapers were expensive?) Because of this she is either recovering from pneumonia, has pneumonia or is getting pneumonia constantly. Additionally she is taking two puffs of an inhaled steroid every morning and every night just to stay "controlled." No one knows exactly what would happen if she stopped taking these twice a day steroids, or her allergy medicine and even though we would love desperately to reduce the amount of medicines she is taking we don't want to take the risk.

Before modern medicine pneumonia was one of the top 5 leading causes of death in the united states. Now, pneumonia is still in the top 10.

So what  exactly is Asthma?

The most direct way to explain asthma is this photo:

Credit to:


Story time...

About a week ago I dropped my daughter off at daycare, and as usual she is recovering from pneumonia so her airways are fairly inflamed and I'm already full of anxiety just taking her there. As I'm spooning her cereal into her bowl and getting her settled in a father walks in with his two boys. The two boys sit across from my daughter and one of the boys immediately coughs the nastiest sounding cough. This poor kid had severe dark circles and goopy looking drowsy eyes and didn't even want to move.

I'm trying not to be judgmental about this because if my kid could recover from a common cold like any other kid I would probably just give her an Advil, send her to school and not miss a day of work also. At the time I thought to myself "You fucking asshole... your kid just walked in and within 10 seconds of sitting down coughed right in my kids face." What do you do at this point? Move your kid to another table and try not to offend the father? I won't go into my reaction because that distracts from my point.

Fast forward a week... my daughter got a cold. It got into her chest and every hour or so we have to coax her to cough so that it does not settle into her lungs. We're back to doing albuterol every 4 hours and in addition to that we're giving her prednisone twice a day to keep the inflammation down which helps with making productive coughing.

Removing her from daycare is not an option for us because unfortunately like most modern households we need the two incomes to survive. But I will admit that the conversation comes up weekly and during a particularly bad flare up it's not uncommon for it to come up  daily.

We miss a lot of work... my wife misses weeks at a time and only remains employed because of FMLA which protects individuals if they must take leaves of absence to care for a family member. Once she has used up all of her paid sick time then I try to use as much of mine as I can to fill the gaps. Once mine is used up then she once again will use FMLA to take unpaid leave... we try very hard to be good employees. Both of us take pride in our work and want to be there for our coworkers. I do not want to be "that guy that calls in sick all the time." Sometimes it's impossible to avoid...

There's some common reactions and question that come from people who really don't understand what we're going through so I'll sum up some of them here:

If it's so important to keep her home why don't you sell everything you don't need and downsize to afford it?

Our biggest expense is our home... It's the home we want our daughter to grow up in and in a school zone we are familiar and comfortable with. To downsize on this would be to move to an area we aren't comfortable with. Would you do this?

Oh she just needs to (insert some old wives tale or home remedy here).

Before modern medicine she would have been a statistic. I'm sure countless kids died in the 1800's while their mothers rubbed honey and lavender on their feet and hung them upside down from an apple tree on a Tuesday during a rain storm in april.

Does she really need to do all of those treatments? She seems OK now.

Yes, she does... she seems OK now because 4 hours ago she had a treatment. Albuterol reduces inflammation and makes it much easier for asthmatics to breathe. Additionally, if they're sick then it helps them to cough mucus out of their lungs.

How does my perfume make a difference?

Have you ever sneezed because someone is wearing too much perfume or cologne? When you sneeze or have any kind of allergic reaction to something mucus is released and collected in your airways, which may cause you to sneeze again or cough. For an asthmatic this creates an airway restriction.

I'll stop here, because the point of this is not to shame those that don't understand but to make them aware of what is going on. Asthma is a real thing and it SHAPES  the lives of those that are affected by it. We are an asthma house and even though my wife is probably saying to herself "omg you make this sound so dramatic" there is a very specific segment of the population that thinks about whether or not they will have access to a power outlet at Disney World so that they can plug in their portable nebulizer.

We walk wide circles around smokers standing at the doorways of businesses.

We look for power outlets and look like a band of crazies hunched together in the corner behind the restaurant at Disney with this noisy machine and a small child that is acting very accustomed to this sort of thing.

We tell friends "no" a lot when we are invited to play dates.

We say things like "if you're sick stay home" on our party invites and we're serious about it.

We look like crazy people when we stop in the middle of the store to pat our kids back when she's coughing and say things like "yah girl you got it up good job!" and give her a high-five.

I know this got a little rant heavy at times but I really did not mean for this to become a journal entry. Even though talking about it publicly is therapeutic I'm really more concerned with helping to shed some light on this for people. Most disabilities are obvious... you move out of the way for people in wheel chairs to give them more room. You help a guy on crutches up a ramp or down a ramp. You may help a veteran with only one arm unload his cart at the grocery store despite his protests and claims that he can do it himself.

You can't see my daughters (or my wifes) lungs. It's not obvious that she has anything wrong at all so you don't think twice about staying put and letting us walk through your smoke cloud, or wearing way too much perfume. I hope you're more aware, because we all just want to live in a world where we can breathe...

If this all sounds like your family, please feel free to reach out to talk. If this is the first time you've even heard of this kind of struggle then please feel free to reach out also.


Filed under: 2015, Fatherhood No Comments

You’re a Dad, your frustration is normal.

I've had some conversations with some friends recently about those "dark inner thoughts" you have when you're a parent. Those troubling moments of weakness when you're so frustrated that you have a thought that makes you feel guilty later. You know the ones; remember last night when you wished your kid would just go to bed?! You devil! You sinner!

Remember that time you thought to yourself "Just eat your fucking CHICKEN!!!" but you said "Just eat your freakin CHICKEN!!" instead?

Remember that long day at work when your boss was riding you for the TPS report and then you went to pick up your daughter from daycare or school and you just "couldn't even"? So you turned on the TV and enjoyed a little quiet (relative to the volume of Sophia the First) while your kid just vegged in front of the TV? You felt so bad about it and the next day you had an extra long coloring session with her to make up for it.

"Am I a shitty parent?"

"Do other parents do this same thing? I can't ask anyone because I may make myself look bad."

No. I mean no you're not a shitty parent and yes other parents do that same shit, man! Just the fact that you second guessed yourself and questioned the morality of plopping that young mind in front of Doc McStuffins for an hour while you pulled yourself together shows that you care.

Your kid has been at school all day and they're tired too. She just wants to watch Sheriff Calli's Wild West, eat a snack (again!) and later on she'll want a snack while you put together a puzzle with (for) her.

Chances are when you "JUST WANT HER TO GO TO BED!" she's sick of your grumpy ass too. She's tired but she won't admit it because of the toddler rage.

You have a fun weekend planned... just get through the week, answer your fill of questions for the day and then tell her you've had enough when you've had enough. We all do it.

Filed under: 2015, Fatherhood 1 Comment

Kids Computer Games – The Struggle is Real


My daughter is 3 and a half now; it's time to introduce her to computers, mouse and keyboard, and video games. You know, the real ones on PC and consoles. Not the pay to win kind on your tablet. She's been playing with tablet games since she could extend her little digit and point at the screen.

I've been struggling to find games that will teach her how to use the mouse and didn't require twitch reflexes. I searched Steam and Googled "games for toddlers" for days. Then one day while browsing the Humble Bundle store and their massive DRM Free sale I found Windosill and Metamorphabet on sale for a couple of dollars. I figured it was worth a try.

So here is our experience so far:

  • Metamorphabet - We had some introduction to mouse and keyboard usage prior to this so it was easy for her to pick up but this game really allows kids to explore the environment. Every click has a new result and "moving forward" to keep them interested is really simple.
  • Windosill - The first time we launched this game she hated it and lost interest quickly. I didn't give up on it because it was so highly rated. I played through the first few puzzles myself so that I could progress the game forward for her if she got stuck or started losing interest. The next time she played she started to lose interest again so I nudged her into the right direction, the game progressed and now she is in love with it. She gets so excited when little events happen on-screen and she is constantly looking for the next piece of the puzzle.

I highly recommend both of these games, but additionally all of the Vectorpark games are great exploration games and I feel like my daughter is getting smarter and more creative by playing them.

If you're in the same boat as I was, looking for a way to get your child into either video games and/or computers without rotting their brain I would recommend you check these out... You'll have fun with them, too.

Filed under: 2015, Fatherhood No Comments

The 10 Month Update

 I recently made a post on Facebook about how my daughter sits deep in thought sometimes, you can tell her little gears are turning and I speculated that she was trying to decide how to solve the worlds' problems. I wish she was just thinking about how much she loves her Daddy, but really for such a young bright mind the world at large is a much more important task.

I was wrong, she is much smarter than that. You see, all she needs to do is smile and laugh and the problems in her immediate area are solved, or made a lot less significant. This is my unwavering opinion of my (now 10 months old) little girl. She is the ultimate problem solver because there are just simply less problems when she is laughing, smiling and happy.

I'm not one to believe in fate or a higher power somehow deciding my life for me but I will admit that a little girl is what I needed in my life and fatherhood is something that I (now) cannot imagine living my life without.

Life has a funny way of giving you what you need. Then you realize that's what you wanted all along. Ten months old.. we are ten months into this journey and I am still frequently left with this surreal feeling when she smiles at me;

"This is my daughter... wow"

Filed under: 2012, Fatherhood No Comments

The One Month Update

Today Hazel is one month old. After a month of fatherhood this is what I have learned.

1. Your wife is going to be possessive, emotional and irrational at times. Shut up and clean the bottles.

2.  Your wife is going to be very busy during the day, especially if you are working. Feeding a newborn every 1-2 hours is very frustrating. Shut up and prepare the bottles.

3. Your wife is very lonely while you're at work. She may refer to inanimate objects as "Wilson", or if you have pets she may speak to them as if they were Wilson. When you get home from work she's going to talk your ear off. Prepare for this any way you see fit but when you get home, shut up and listen. When she starts to speak too fast to keep up just listen for inflection, or the end of sentences and respond with "Wow, great idea.", "Fuck yah! That's what I was thinking!" and my favorite "Hahaha!"

4. Cook huge pots of stuff for her to eat during the day. My favorite is chicken noodle soup. Use a crock pot. Make it microwavable.

5. Shut up and clean the bottles.

6. Try to take at least a week off of work. Do all of the laundry, dishes, cleaning, lawn work during this week. Try to be available to help when needed but get these things done before you go back!

7. Watch the baby in the middle of the day when you can so your wife can sleep.

8. Stop updating your blog and feed the baby while she scrapbooks.

10. Ten is a nice round number.



Filed under: 2011, Fatherhood No Comments